Give a Reason for Your Hope
New Years is the perfect time to be ready to share the hope that's in you!
This article was originally posted on the website of St. George's Burlington, one of our parishes in southern Ontario.
Most people try to approach a new year hopefully. Who knows what a fresh number could bring? Who knows how this year could be better than the last?
FOR ONE NIGHT AT LEAST THE WORLD SEEMS FULL OF HOPE
Many of us don sparkly hats and blow noise makers and cheer and drink and do countdowns and kiss as the new year is rung in. The hopes and dreams and well-wishes of strangers on the streets of New York, city squares or celebrities in a studio are aired and giggled over and toasted. For one night at least the world seems full of hope and the future full of glorious possibilities.
“What are you hoping this year will bring?” many are asked by interviewers with microphones. “What makes you hopeful for the future?”
World peace. Thinner thighs. Romance. A big break. Fewer vices. More perspective. Happier, more fruitful lives. Many hope in their willpower, their planning, their strategies, their body. Many hope in their loved ones. Some hope in their bosses or government. Many hope in “the universe” and karma and luck and the odds. Hope abounds and scatters to the four winds. It’s spurred on and out by bubbly drink and music and fireworks.
And, though often as vacuous and shallow as all this can appear, what a wonderful moment this is for a child of God.
The Most Hopeful People on Earth
If a believer in Christ Jesus is anything, it is hopeful. If anyone in all the universe can look forward to the future with hope, it is a Christian. If anyone has reason to be filled always with unshakeable hopefullness, it is a disciple of Jesus.
For the Christian–the believer in Jesus, the child of God, one in Christ–we have so much reason to be hopeful. We should be considered the most hope-filled of all people. And perhaps we should ask right now if that is what we are seeing in ourselves? Are we seeing the fruit of hopefulness in how we speak and live? If not let’s consider the gospel.
Where’s this Hope Come From?
Jesus, the Son of God, has come in human flesh and done everything that needed doing to make us totally right with God, alive and free and approved. He lived perfectly and has shared his perfection with us. He died and atoned for all our sin. He defeated death and rose from the dead and has shared his eternal life with us. The fear of death has been shattered, the fear of condmenation has been ended, the fear of God’s wrath has been quenched.
THE FEAR OF DEATH HAS BEEN SHATTERED, THE FEAR OF CONDMENATION HAS BEEN ENDED, THE FEAR OF GOD’S WRATH HAS BEEN QUENCHED.
And now, every moment and day and year that passes brings us one closer to the return of Jesus. It is unstoppable and guaranteed; it’s already been written. And he will make all things right. He will banish all evil, pain and death. He will wipe away our every tear. He will bring a new heaven and earth and it will be filled with joy and peace and beauty. We will have healthy, whole, glorified bodies. We will dwell with King Jesus as his beloved friends and siblings, and rule and reign with him for the ages to come.
Until that day we are already loved and forgiven and accepted and pleasing to God. And he is working in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure. We are his workmanship, made new with good purpose for good things. We are blessed with everything spiritual blessing. We have his Spirit and have been adopted as his children. We’ve been set free from guilt and fear, so we can love and give generously. He works in all things for our good. He delights over us with singing. His grace is training us to resist evil and to live godly, as the sons of God we have been made to be, while we wait for the blessed hope– the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Eclipsing Weak Hopes
WE DON’T NEED TO PUT OUR HOPE IN RELATIONSHIPS WHICH WILL END, GOVERNMENTS WHICH WILL FALL, WILLPOWER WHICH WILL RUN DRY
As our neighbours and friends and colleagues and families look toward a new year and consider what they’ll hope in, let’s be ready to share with them ours. Let’s be ready to give the reason for the hope that we have. We don’t need to scatter our hope out randomly to a mysterious universe, to fickle and impossible karma, to incalculable odds. We don’t need to hope in the unknowns of weak humanity, fault ridden strategies, broken systems and wishful thinking. We don’t need to put our hope in relationships which will end, governments which will fall, willpower which will run dry, careers which will finish, passion which will fade, possessions which will expire, or strength which will fail.
We have a solid and trustworthy and sovereign and good and certain place to put our hope for the future. He is not unknown. He is not random. He is not fickle. He is good. He is powerful. He is faithful. He is lasting. He is the beginning and the end.
Give Your Reason
As people all around us look for somewhere or someone to put their hope in for the new year let’s offer them Jesus. He is the way better hope. Let’s consider all the ways he’s better. Let’s consider how to compare him to the other hopes the world offers. Let’s consider how to articulate how he is better than those other hopes. As Christ’s ambassadors here on earth, let’s be ready to share the good and glorious and certain hope we’ve been given in Jesus, the saviour of the world.
LET’S BE READY TO SHARE THE GOOD AND GLORIOUS AND CERTAIN HOPE WE’VE BEEN GIVEN IN JESUS
While we celebrate the new year and don our sparkly hats; as the countdowns begin and the fireworks go off; let’s know why it is that we are hopeful. Let’s rest in and enjoy the great and marvellous hope we have. Let’s rejoice and give thanks and share generously. For with every passing moment God’s grace abounds for us and the glorious return of Jesus draws that much closer.
Happy New Year, dear friends
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Scott Hunt is a member of St. George's Burlington and the Communications Director of the Anglican Network in Canada.